- Kura Sushi USA has hired Jeff Uttz as chief financial officer effective Monday, according to a press release.
- Uttz, who most recently served as CFO at Shake Shack, replaces Steven Benrubi, who retired on Aug. 1.
- The new CFO has over 15 years of restaurant experience and has also worked at Yard House USA and CKE Restaurants.
Uttz’s appointment comes at a good time for Kura Sushi, which has recovered following pandemic-related shutdowns and significant sales declines. During the company’s fiscal Q3 2022, it increased sales to $38 million from $18.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales also increased 65% over the year-ago quarter, according to an earnings release. Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, comparable sales were up 28.3%.
Kura Sushi has also been opening restaurants in new markets this year, most recently in Watertown, Massachusetts, per the Q3 earnings release. As of July, the company has opened five restaurants this year and expects to open at least eight by the year’s end. Kura Sushi currently has 40 units across 12 states, according to Monday’s press release.
Uttz’s extensive restaurant financing experience will be instrumental as Kura Sushi moves toward growth. While at Shake Shack, where he was CFO from 2013 to 2017, Uttz helped prepare the company for its 2015 initial public offering. He also helped open 45 restaurants and partnered with operations, real estate, marketing, human resources and supply chain teams. At Yard House, where he served as CFO for nearly 12 years, he created a financial infrastructure to support the company while also remaining engaged with each real estate transaction as a member of the real estate division. Uttz began his career at KPMG.